subito press

university of colorado boulder

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My Untimely Death

by Adam Peterson

2007 fiction winner
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My Untimely Death
Excerpt:

Spring has come after the longest winter of my life so I lie in the hammock napping while the sun is out and the cicadas are singing and John Secada is singing on the small radio I carried out in my left hand while in my right hand I carried a pink lemonade which rests on my sternum wetting a cold circle on my polo, and it is all perfectly spring until everything gets ruined by my untimely death.

My deaths falls from the sky. At first a dark shadow that might be a cloud, the sun never breaks it. Shade is not spring so, upset, I open my eyes to see a block of what appears to be lead falling toward me. This is not spring, but I close my eyes to it and think how happy I am that a block of lead is not winter either.

This is what it feels like to die: Like throwing away a letter; building a diorama; hating someone you spend time with; eating your favorite meal on consecutive days; flipping over a blank page in a photo album; the band Bad Company; sleeping next to a dog; buying an expensive pen; seeing a cousin unexpectedly; sampling a taste of your baby's food; aiming a pellet gun; cooking your first meal for one; being late to a job interview.

Dying feels like other things too. To me it feels like a nursery rhyme I try to remember. It is as if I know this death from somewhere. It was not always a block of lead in the spring. Like all things, I imagined death many ways. It just as easily could have been cobalt, car crash, summer, stab, or more cobalt.

Reviews and Interviews

"Wildly funny, poignant, exhilarating meditations that fracture and reassemble everything we know and believe about living and dying. Adam Peterson reinvents the notion of story here, dismantling the lines between genres and creating a gorgeous new kind of prose with a voice that is simply irresistible. You can't stop reading this book again and again."

-Jonis Agee, author of The River Wife

About the Author:

Adam Peterson currently lives in Lincoln, Nebraska. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Ninth Letter, Indiana Review, The Cream City Review, and other journals. A story he co-wrote won the 2006 Sherwood Anderson Award at Mid-American Review. He recently completed a novel.